LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) – The holidays are just around the corner, and Acadiana is recovering from a tough year of natural disasters and a still rebounding oil and gas industry.
Many families are watching their finances and hoping for the best, and the state of Lafayette’s economy offers some hope.
“The economy has done better since late last year,” says Gregg Gothreaux, president, and CEO of the Lafayette Economic Development Authority, or LEDA.
Gothreaux says the economic uptick started late last year and into January of this year; he adds that the improvement is across the board.
“I think there’s an optimism in the oil and gas industry. There’s an optimism overall that has kept us afloat. Attitude is everything, Gothreaux explains.
And according to Gothreaux, retail has also been a factor.
“The retail community has been very important. The new shopping center literally saved us this whole time in terms of retail sales,” Gothreaux notes.
In fact, Gothreaux says the Ambassador Town Center had a total economic impact of $132 million and created more than 1,000 jobs.
And speaking of jobs, if you’re in the market for one, Gothreaux has this advice.
“The jobs are emerging in the technology sector. There have literally been hundreds of people hired over the last year and a half. But the medical industry is a huge diversifying factor. We’ve just had one company hire 400 employers averaging over 60,000 a year plus benefits with about a $175 million dollar impact in Lafayette Parish alone, Gothreaux says.
With these encouraging numbers, one might ask what Lafayette’s economic outlook is.
Gothreaux says more solid numbers won’t be known until closer to the end of the year, but there are several areas that continue to turn around huge financial gains, starting with our culture.
“We need to hang our hats on entertainment, including retails, technology, and grow that sector because it attracts so many of our college grads and the medical industry and its continued expansion and specialization. And we need to understand that we need to be an important energy hub for the future,” Gothreaux says.